Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hello Beautiful :)

Operation Beautiful was started by twenty- six year old Caitlin. It’s a mission to make women feel beautiful and love themselves. Caitlin says “The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk or “Fat Talk.” If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically."

She says "Through my own experiences fighting Fat Talk, I’ve realized the power behind an anonymous act such as Operation Beautiful. When I post a note, I’m saying, “I CHOOSE to be positive!” I began Operation Beautiful by leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms — at work, at the gym, at the grocery store. I scribble down whatever comes to mind — "You are beautiful!" or "You are amazing just the way you are!" My personal goal is to leave as many Operation Beautiful notes as I can. Maybe some people read them and just smile, but I bet some people are truly touched by the effort of a random stranger.”

Ever since I found out about Operation Beautiful, I’ve posted notes….

Seen notes on desks…

Even posted one on my bedroom mirror!

I recently went through a stage where every time I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw. I really just didn’t like it. Finally, I decided that I was tired of putting myself down and being miserable. After all, how could I tell other people that they were beautiful, if I couldn’t believe it about myself? So now, every time I find myself putting myself down, I simply tell myself "You’re gorgeous," and smile.

Every time I find a note, like the one to the left, it makes me smile, and I can’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the day. It’s one thing to see the hundreds of pictures on those are beautiful, don’t get me wrong- but seeing them in real life makes it so much more… real. I think “I’m not alone in this. Other people see the importance of this.”

Something’s messed up. If girls feel the need to skip a meal, or throw up after eating, or cut to ease the pain, or are constantly putting themselves down. If they feel the need to pluck, wax, shave, dye, straighten, color, clip, something needs to change. They’re- WE’RE- spending way too much time in front of the mirror, obsessing and scrutinizing, wishing our faces were more acne-free, our stomach thinner, our legs more toned. We wish we could be more like that girl in the magazine, the mall, on TV. We live in the land of “if only’s” “If only I was thinner, he’d like me.” “If only my hair was curlier, I’d be beautiful.” “If only I don’t eat this, I’ll be skinny.” “If only…” And everywhere we look, it’s telling us that it’s okay. All the women on TV are thin. All the women in magazines have perfect skin. All the woman in movies have perfect hair and teeth and legs. We feel worthless. We can never be good enough to be what society says is beautiful. We aim so high but can never hit the mark. And I, for one, have a problem with that. Because real beauty doesn’t come from dieting or tanning or dying. Where does it come from? It comes from inside. And I know that sounds cheesy, but real beauty is strong, and real, and confident, and powerful. It loves who it is and doesn’t care what society wants it to be. You can’t find it anywhere but inside of you. You won’t find it in the gym trying to lose just 10 more pounds. You won’t find it in fitness magazine. It’s not something that comes out when its covered with makeup or swallowed with a pill.

No, darling, beauty’s what lies inside.
I’ve been where many of you are, and I’ll probably be there again one day. I’ve hit rock bottom more than once. I know that feeling ugly and worthless brings you down. But a beautiful woman is a confident woman, and she is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Nothing can bring her down, not the words of others nor the pictures in a magazine of a size one model. And believe me with what I’m about to tell you. From one woman to another: You are beautiful. Just the way you are. You don’t need to change a thing to be gorgeous. You, just as you are, enough. I know that you’re reading this and thinking “That’s so true, except for me.” But no. Don’t believe that lie, because it’s coming straight out of the mouth of the Devil. You aren’t the only exception. Be confident with who you are and who you’ve grown to be. You’re the only you there’ll ever be, so why waste the only life you’ve been given with trying to be somebody else? Beauty comes in different forms for every woman. Natural, wonderful, healthy, fabulous, unique. That’s what you are, and that’s what beauty is.

“So society, consider this the official Declaration of The War on Beauty. Because we are a thousand voices strong, and a beauty that’s our own, we are so beautiful. More SIMPLY saying; bring it on.” (

Monday, November 21, 2011

We're A Family And We Miss You

Saturday morning, two students from my school were killed in an awful car crash. They were driving home late at night from bowling with friends when they were hit by a drunk driver who was going easily over one hundred miles per hour, according to eye witnesses.
The girl, Christina was giving Corey a ride home from bowling. She was stopped at the light and making a call to tell her brother, who made it through the light in front of her, that she would be home in a minute, a few minutes before they were hit. The boy, Corey Cooper was flung out of the car, and one eye witness tried to help and performed CPR with no response. When paramedics arrived, they were both taken to the nearby hospital, and later pronounced dead.

They were both so young. Corey was only 18, just a senior at my school. Everyone who knew him, or even just saw him in the hallways, knew he was always smiling and laughing. The girl, Christina, was 20, a recent graduate of my school. I barely knew Christina, but I had spoken to Corey on Friday after school for the first time.

I had gone with my friend to talk to the yearbook advisor before we went to hang up posters. I sat on one of the desks while she talked to the teacher about advertisements for the yearbook. Corey walked in to talk to the teacher, who held up a finger. “One minute.” Corey nodded and we exchanged a couple words while we waited. My friend finished up and we left, leaving Corey with the teacher.
Then Saturday I get on Facebook and find out he’s been killed.

It’s awful. I was touched by his life, even though I didn’t know it until it was too late. It’s overwhelming to go on both Corey and Christina’s Facebook pages, or even just scroll down my news feed and see all the posts, pictures and statuses about both of them.

“Tomorrow is going to be hard, walking into school and 7th period, and lunch without seeing Corey. But the truth is that we all can make a difference and DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!!!! R.I.P COREY ♥”

“Can I please wake up and all this just be a horrible nightmare!? :'(“
"Of course the first thing I hear on the radio this morning is about the accident.. & the silence of the senior hallway is the loudest thing I've heard in my life."
"Today was so quiet and sad. God wanted two great people with him two days ago and we all have to be there for each other gone but not forgotten RIP."
"The silence today was almost unbearable. Even though i didn't know you very well Corey, rest in peace ♥"
“Carroll's a family. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. We miss you, Corey.”

"Well congratulations . You decided to drink and drive , and you killed a twenty year old girl , and a high school student graduating in less than six months . . . He was laughing , always laughing , and if not smiling . . . I have one question , how will you live with yourself ? I couldn't . Rest In Peace , Corey & Christina . Corey , I'm really gonna miss your smile

“Walking into Kroger and knowing that Christina isn't going to be there to check you out is the worst feeling ever, then seeing the memorial they have set up for her really tops it off.. Just when I begin to accept the truth that they're gone I'm forced to remember it all over again.”

“I hate stupid people... Without them we would still have you... Rip Corey♥”

“Two things today should have taught everyone was never
drink and drive! You might think your fine but one drink means don't drive! And also make sure you live each day like your last cause you never know when it could be your last. R.I.P Corey and Christina :(“

“Not even knowing him his tragedy has hit me deep. My prayers go out to his family and loved ones. He will not be forgotten and I know that for sure. His life shows me that you have to live life like today is your last day. From what I have heard he is the model of living life to the fullest and having fun in the process.”

Today was so quiet and sad god wanted two great people with him two days ago and we all have to be there for each other gone but not forgotten RIP“We aren’t just a school. We're a family. Once a patriot, always a patriot. RIP Corey.”

“Only the good die young" RIP Corey and Christina. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and all who have known them... I wish I could be there for the memorial service but just know I am praying with all of you.”

“One time I was talking to Corey, for some random reason, and even then, he told me that life was short and you have to live it to the fullest extent. And I didn't even know him, but I honestly feel like he did that. Clearly, he was extremely loved, and I just wish I could have gotten to know him better. RIP Corey Cooper”

“It can never be explained why God would take two amazing people away from us, but we can hope they are in a better place right now with God and his angels. Love you Corey and Christina. You two always brightened my days and knew how to make me laugh ♥”

Today, the first day back to school since the accident, was the worst day ever. The school was silent. There was a memorial set up in the lobby near the senior hallway, and counselor’s in the chapel. Everyone was crying, and those who didn’t know him were silent, just out of respect for those who did. All the teachers said something about them about them at the beginning of class. Some told us that we could just lay our heads down if we needed to, any time throughout the class, and if we felt the need to go to a counselor, we could just ask and we were immediately allowed to go to the chapel. A lot of students did, and everyone was so depressed and upset. Thank you to the faculty for helping holding us together in this hard time.
Our school is now one filled with pain and anger. We’ve become a family through this tragedy, but we need God more than ever, and I’m praying that God will give us the strength to keep going without Corey and Christina with us. R.I.P Corey and Christina. We love and miss you.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Day 7 – a photo that makes you happy

This is a picture of me and my brother, Vladimir- I call him Vova. I'm not honestly sure why. I just remember when i was younger, saying that I didn't like the name Vladimir and was going to call him Vova. And it stuck. He’s only a month and eight days older than me, and he’s always quick to point out the eight days. He was adopted from Russia when we were five.

The photo was taken in my room, and we were just hanging out. Him drawing at my desk, me writing on my bed, like we do often. We both got bored and I pulled out my camera, and we took a bunch of pictures. This is one of the best ones.

He’s one of my best friends, and I love him a lot.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Today in my New Testament class our teacher had us all take a card from a deck. We had to find the three other people who had the same suit as us. He had us move our desks into a circle with the people in our group.
He had us read a passage in the Bible about anger, and then put a list of
questions on the Smart Board. One of them was “What makes you angry?” Everyone in my group answered, and when it got to be my turn, I answered “Human trafficking.”

The boy sitting to my right, Jacob (not his real name) burst out laughing. “What? I asked. I’d been afraid that someone would laugh, but human trafficking truly makes me furious, so I had decided to take the chance and say it.

“Human trafficking?” He managed as he tried to catch his breath. “How does that make you angry?”

“Because it’s wrong.”

“So? Do you see people being trafficked?”
"No, but that doesn’t be okay. I mean, it could happen to anyone. It could be happening down the street and we’d never know it.”

“Wait, guys, what’s human trafficking?” The only other girl in our group asked.

“It’s when-” I started to explain, only to be interrupted by Jacob.

“Sex slavery.”

The girl looked at me, and I nodded. “Well, yeah, it can be.”

“Oh.” She nods.

“I still don’t see how that makes you angry.” Jacob turns back to me. “You don’t see it happening.”

“So? You don’t see abortion actually see abortion happening, but it still makes you mad.” I referenced something that the girl has said earlier, about how abortion made her mad.

“No I don’t. That was her. I don’t care.”

“But do you see my point?” I argued. “Just because I don’t see it happening doesn’t make it okay, Jacob.”

“No, I don’t, but whatever. Anyways, my sister makes me angry.”

Friends, as I’ve said before, human trafficking, for whatever reason, has affected my life. God has placed it on my heart, and even though I don’t personally know anyone who’s been trafficked, it’s a big deal to me. I want to do something about it. I want to change the world one day, and
this is how I want to change it.

Human trafficking is an awful thing. There are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Sometimes the victims are kidnapped from places they’re familiar with, sometimes they’re told that they’re going to get a work for a modeling agency or are told they are going to get a job, and when they agree to go with the men who spoke to them, or even agree to simply meet up with them, they’re taken and sold to the highest bidder.

Runaways and abuse victims are big targets. Statistics show that runaways only last an average of forty-eight hours on the street before a pimp snatches them up. As many as 1,000 ads on Craig’s List sell underage girls for sex today. Children under eighteen are the largest group of trafficking victims in the U.S. and twelve years old is the average age of children being enslaved. Sex trafficking is the third largest criminal industry, after drugs and arms dealing.

10 Ways to Help:

1. Spread the word.
The more people who know about human trafficking, the more people there are to help stop it.

2. Use your talent.
Write a blog post about why we should fight human trafficking. Paint a picture and
display it publicly. Use a sports event to raise awareness and funds. Write a song or talk about human trafficking at a concert. Create a short film and post in on YouTube. Use what you do best to make a difference!

3. Invest in Freedom.
One way you can join campaigns is through financial support. Your donation will be used to fight human trafficking through many different ways, such as covering legal fees as well as costs related to health care and housing for rescued

4.Organize a fundraiser.
Wash cars, hold a bake sale, have a garage sale. At your fundraiser, be prepared to
tell why you’re doing it and explain your cause.

5. Start an awareness group.
Start an awareness group at your local school, university or youth group. Get your
friends involved in spreading the truth about human trafficking to your

6.Educate yourself.
There are many fantastic movies about human trafficking and modern day slavery.
Recommended reading materials:

1. Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade--and How We Can Fight It - by David Batstone.

2. The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade - by Victor Malarek

3. Terrify No More: Young Girls Held Captive and the Daring Undercover Operation to Win Their Freedom - by Gary A. Haugen and Gregg Hunter

4. The Road of Lost Innocence - by Somaly Mam

5. Ending Slavery - by Kevin Bales
Recommended Movies (for mature audiences only):

1. Human Trafficking (2005)
2. The Jammed (2007)
3. Trade (2007)
4. Taken (2008)
5. Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

Recommended Websites:

7. Pray
Never underestimate the power of prayer!

8. Motivate the media
Encourage your local newspaper or television station to cover stories about human trafficking, as well as what your community can do to help stop it.

9. Support survivors
You can support survivors by donating items for newly rescued victims. One suggestion is new clothes such as pajamas, socks and other essentials as survivors often come to us with only the clothes on their back. Another way to support survivors is to buy products made by survivors of human trafficking.

10. Help victims escape.
Leave local rescue hot line numbers in public places around your city. For ideas and free downloads, visit
Seeking Help:
1-800-232-6459 Focus on the Family
1-800-RUNAWAY Runaway hot line
1-800-999-9999 Covenant House
1-800-394-4673 Christian Teen Hot line

Joseph Stalin once said that one death is a tragedy; one millions is a statistic.

And I’m sad to say that statement can be true. 27 million people are victims or trafficking right now. And to me, 27 million can be just a number, simply a statistic.

I know it can be that way with other people too- it certainly was with Jacob. I want to change that- even for just one person. For the students in my classes. For the people who read my blog. And especially for the people who are part of that statistic.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


It was sweatshirt weather in Southern Ohio. Not cold enough for us to be able to see our breath, but just cold enough for me to be glad that I’d remembered to grab my sweatshirt, despite my bare feet and ripped jeans. We sat in the tiny ditch on the side of the road in the country, trees surrounding on each side; it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, even though we were only twenty minutes out of town. The occasional pair of headlights would appear at the top of the hill and pierce the darkness, illuminating our faces. A slight breeze made it feel colder than it was, and I felt my hair blowing against his arm, which was only inches from mine.

The breeze rustled the leaves in the trees around us, and suddenly he was jumping up, grabbing my hands and pulling me up next to him. I cocked my head, confusion written across my face, along with a smile, and playful jubilee on his. He wordlessly pulled me into the road, and twirled me around, laughing. I giggled at his spontaneity as we began to dance. We danced and I tilted my head back, smiling. We danced and we twirled and we loved. We spun around the in the middle of the empty road under a sky blanketed with stars so numerous; trying to count them would be like trying to find a tear dropped in an ocean. We weren’t graceful in the least, but there was something about it- him and me, us, together.

I imagined us dancing, this time surrounded by people we loved and who loved us back. Me in a pure white ball gown and him in a crisp black tuxedo, twirling and swirling hand-in-hand around a ballroom, swept away in each other, satisfied in simply knowing that he had waited for me, and I for him. Contented by the fact the God had kept us safe and sound and secure while he was out there and I was out there, and led him to me at precisely the right moment.

I liked the moments like these, the secret, silent ones, where were alone, and didn’t need words to describe what we were feeling, because we just knew. Whenever we had moments like those, I weird sensation always gushed over me, and I knew he felt it too. It was like I was made for these moments. For this moment. The sense of charm and wonder and enchantment that filled the air and swirled all around us.

It was the kind of moment that made you want to relive it later. The kind that made you want to bottle it up and keep it on a shelf where everyone can see.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Things That Fill My Heart

Day 6 – 20 of my favorite things

1.My lavender Converse (and my neon pink ones too!)

2.Thunderstorms (


4.Being barefoot

5.My IPod

6.My Camp Jabez horses

7.Panera’s Asiago Cheese bagels

8.Snow days

9.Getting a handwritten letter in the mail

10.Laughing till my stomach hurts and I can’t breath

11.Someone telling me that I made them feel better

12.Wedding pictures

13.Finding a new book by my favorite author

14.Owl City (Adam Young)

15.Watching the stars on a big country sky



18.My cowboy boots

19.Sleeping in on the weekends

20.Halloween- or really, any excuse to wear a costume

So Many Quotes, So Little Time

Day 5 – your favorite quote

‎''To all you girls that think you're fat because you're not a size 0, you're the beautiful one, it's society who's ugly.'' - Marilyn Monroe

"If you can't see the bright side of life, polish the dull side"

“And then my soul saw you and it kind of went "Oh there you are. I've been looking for you.””

“He's not your prince charming if he doesn't make sure you know that you're his princess.” -Demi Lovato

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing as thought I had wings.” -Mary Oliver

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” –Walter Bagehot

“We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.” –Anais Win

"We have tomorrow, bright before us, like a flame."- Langston Hughes

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence in which you really stop to look fear in the face... You must do the thing you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt

"The Bible will keep you from sin, but sin will keep you from the Bible."

"Act Swiftly Awesome Pachyderm!" -Horton Hears a Who.

"If we ever forget that we are a Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under." -Ronald Reagan

"When we can overcome the love of power with the power of love, there will be peace." -Jimi Hendrix

"Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten." -G.K. Chesterton

Book Worm

Day 4 – your favorite book

For all of these questions, I don’t have one single answer!

I love Delirium by Lauren Oliver, The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins, Vanish and Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Bound By Guilt and Thicker Than Blood by CJ Darlington, The Charmed Life series by Jenny B Jones and the Forever Faithful series by Karen Kingsbury.

I love reading and I read all types of things. Mysteries, Romances, Religious, I’m not particular to one genre of books.

All of these books are amazing, they’re all really well written and the plots are great. I recommend that you read all of them.

I Watch Too Much TV

Day 3 – your favorite television program

My all-time favorite TV show is probably Bones. It’s about Dr. Temperance Brennan and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth who both work at the Jeffersonian Institute with Cam, Sweets, Angela, Hodgins and different interns. The all work together to solve murder mysteries.

I also love Modern Family, The Middle and Sing Off. I actually know one of the people on Sing Off this season. Kendall Young from Delilah. She used to go to my church and our parents have been friends for years. I also really like Monk and Psych. Monk is about an OCD detective and Psych is about a guy who pretends to be a psychic with the police.

29 Photos

That’s Jessica. She’s this super amazing girl with an incredible eye for photography and she can see the beauty in everything and everyone. She’s absolutely gorgeous and so much fun to be around. She can always make you feel better about yourself and make your day 100% brighter.

We both love photography, and my dad’s a photographer. She came over on Saturday, and he let us use his camera to practice our photography. We took turns being the photographer and the photographed.

See? She takes something so minuscule and insignificant, something that other people stomp on and ignore and she makes it beautiful.

I love photography, and like to think I’m good, but Jessica really has an eye for it. I never would have thought to take a picture of this.

One shot. She only needed to one shot to get this picture!

I love this picture. The lighting and everything, and frame, its perfect.

Now some pictures by me, not that they could possibly follow those pictures.

Now back to pictures by Jess...

I only have three words to describe this picture: Cutest. Thing. Ever.

I love this one. All the blues make it a really amazing picture. Looks like something out of a travel brochure.

I love this one. Its one of my favorites. (okay, I know I’ve said that about a lot of them. But I can’t play favorites!)

A lot of these were taken with her ipod camera, Like this one.
This is one of my favorites! I’m a soccer fan, and I just love the action and suspense in this picture.

Feels like Halloween, huh?

This looks like a Christmas card. Its one of my favorites.

Amazing, right?